by Stephen Waguespack, President and CEO of Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI)
In 1994, after two years under the Clinton administration and decades more toiling as the minority party in Congress, Republicans decided they needed a plan to better communicate with the American people and detail the specific actions they promised to take if they assumed leadership in Congress in the upcoming elections. They suspected their ideas would resonate with a country growing more conservative by the day, but they knew the President’s bully pulpit and rapport with the mainstream media made it difficult to get those ideas heard by voters around the country. They knew they needed a workaround. Thus, the Contract with America was born.
Down in the Bayou State, there’s a clamor for more executions. Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry makes no bones about his feelings. More executions- including nitrogen gas, hangings, firing squads, electrocution and lethal injection. But a federal judge has put all executions in Louisiana on hold for another year.
While a meeting with the Trump administration on Wednesday with the head of the European Union signifies a possible deal to make a deal between some of the traditional allies regarding trade, there is still a tremendous amount of uncertainty that has put somewhat of a drag on a robust economy. Recently, in a Facebook Live interview, I asked Tulane Economist Peter Ricchuiti about the trade battle among the allies and how it appears to trigger a sense of economic nationalism.
Below is his response and a continuation of a discussion about the US economy, repatriation of dollars due to the recent Republican tax cut, the stock market and natural gas and boom within Louisiana. Below, you can watch the entire video of our conversation.
According to the just-released Morning Consult poll, Louisiana US Senator John Kennedy has a 51-25-24 percent favorable-unfavorable-uncertain/don’t know rating among Louisiana voters. The more senior US Senator, Bill Cassidy possesses a 48-27-25% rating.
Both US Senators from Louisiana are former Democrats, now Republicans in a strong conservative-Republican state.
Today, two announcements have hit the wires which indicate that a sense of optimism could be coming.
First, a press release measuing $1.49 billion in good news. The second is a statement by Governor John Bel Edwards promoting economic growth this first quarter of 2018 in GDP.
Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that his request for a third extension of the federal temporary housing program for survivors of the August 2016 floods has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through. Gov. Edwards requested that homeowners be given additional time and the low rent for the Mobile Housing Units (MHUs) be retained as survivors rebuild their homes that were either severely damaged or destroyed by the floods. The incremental rent increases on the MHUs remains in place. FEMA has confirmed this will be the final extension to the program.
Today, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced $60 million in new coastal projects to be built and paid for with funds from the settlement of the Deepwater Horizon, BP Oil Spill.
by Stephen Waguespack, President and CEO of Louisiana Association of Business and Industry
Every now and then, it is important to take the time to reflect on those who deserve some recognition and appreciation.
I for one feel blessed that I have a loving family, supportive friends and am surrounded daily by hardworking and talented coworkers. I want each of them to know how grateful I am for all that they do.
The last several months, we at LABI have worked daily with an army of elected officials and other dedicated public servants to try and solve the state’s policy challenges affecting Louisiana’s business community. While we agree with some and disagree with others, I want to say thank you to all of them for their commitment to Louisiana and their willingness to offer themselves up for public service.
In the same week that CNBC ranked Texas as the state with the best economy in the nation, Bankrate listed Louisiana as the 4th worst state in the nation to retire. Analyst Taylor Tepper cited the state’s “very high crime,” as one of the reasons for the poor ranking. This makes sense because retirees usually do not want to move to a state where they will be robbed or murdered.
Louisiana supported Donald Trump like no other state in the country. This is Trump Country. So is Iowa, Kansas, parts of Michigan, Pennsylvania and others. However, according to many experts, including Tulane's economist Peter Ricchuitti, Louisiana is being hit the hardest now than most states and has a significant amount to lose, should the tariffs keep coming.
Ricchutti discussed this issue during the fourth segment of our Live Stream interview recently.
President Trump has put the French back in good graces with the U.S. while criticizing other European nations. He apparently turned a cold shoulder to both German and England over tariffs and NATO, but has developed a close and warm relationship with current French President Emmanuel Macron. And that’s good news for Louisiana.
According to President Donald Trump, the United States cannot compete in global trade because of import tariffs. Ultimately, the president says, the cost at the market is too high for American products. But, is this the only issue for whatever deficit this country might possess as we engage in a trade war of sorts with our closest allies and against one major competitor, China?
According to Tulane economist, Peter Ricchuiti, there are a number of reasons for the inbalance and not just tariffs.
How is Louisiana's economy doing now that the oil prices have improved, especially since Louisiana is so dependent upon that industry? There have been reports about a poor Louisiana economy, so is it fair to blame the current governor, John Bel Edwards? Is the United States losing the manufacturing battle against the world as President Donald Trump has been claiming?
The US economy is booming. Stock market has soared yet, the first six months of 2018, it has sputtered. Oil prices have climbed, yet, the industry has not yet gushed back. We're in the middle of the second longest economic recovery in history, yet, fears of slow down persists. The US is taking on China and its best allies in the first shots of a trade battle due to tariffs. Economically, all systems are on “go”, full speed ahead, but uncertainty linger.
So, what gives? Has the economy been too good? You know, what goes up, must come down? Or, have deregulation, tax cuts and a bubbling business climate built up such a mighty buffer that any economic leaks due to shifting alliances and trade strategies won't penetrate the optimism?